UAE is witnessing an exponential increase in onion prices after India announced an export ban until March next year to contain local prices. Retail industry executives in the country say they're looking for alternative sources to procure the commodity as prices jumped six times to meet the demand.

Ashok Tulsiani, group FMCG director at Al Safeer, confirmed that there has been an impact on onion exports, resulting in retail prices rising by "at least six times."

"Turkey, Iran, and China are potential alternatives, but in terms of quantity, quality, and price, Indian onions are still the best and most of the customers' preference. Any other country does not fully justify the demand for Indian onion," Tulsiani said in a statement to Khaleej Times.

After onion rates rose to Rs70-80 per kg in New Delhi, India's Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) amended the export policy of onions "from free to prohibited till March 31, 2024."

India is also a major exporter of onions to other neighbouring countries in the Subcontinent and the Gulf countries, resulting in prices in those countries also going up due to the ban by New Delhi.

Kamal Vachani, group director and partner of Al Maya Group, said the Indian government's ban on onions has prompted the exploration of alternative countries to fulfil the onion demand in the UAE.

"UAE has diversified its sourcing channels and has identified several potential countries to serve as alternative sources for onions," he said, adding that Egypt is being considered as another potential supplier of onions to the UAE market, and Turkey presents itself as an additional option for sourcing onions to cater to the demands of the UAE market.

"We are actively expanding our sourcing networks to guarantee a consistent onion supply for consumers in the UAE. Nevertheless, we are dedicated to maintaining market stability and meeting consumer demands," he added.

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